What are some of the most common risks and injuries suffered by oil and gas workers? How dangerous is it to process and transport these precious fuels? Oil and natural gas are big business in Kansas and the state pumped nearly 27 million barrels of oil from 51,400 wells into refineries in 2017 along with nearly 166.6 million cubic feet of natural gas from 22,500 wells. Some of the largest fields are in Ellis, Harper, Grant, and Stevens counties. Nationwide, there are nearly 1.4 million people involved in oil and natural gas production. These workers pay a heavy price for their labors and can experience a wide range of injuries from transportation accidents including severe burns, amputations, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other debilitating injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, oil and natural gas workers have an injury rate of 15 per 100,000. This is roughly five times the rate for all professions. Fatality rates are also significant with 142 recorded in 2015 which was a 27% increase over the number who died in 2014. Between 2007 to 2011, 16 of these fatalities were in Kansas.
Oil and gas production is a dangerous and deadly profession that is growing at a significant clip. from 2003-2013, the industry saw a 245% increase in the number of well-servicing companies, a 62% increase in the number of oil and gas operators, and a 92% increase in the number of drilling contractors. This growth has also been coupled with a significant increase in the overall number of fatalities. In 2003, there were 85 fatalities recorded. In 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 through 2013, the number of fatalities exceeded 100 per year. The only reason the overall fatality rates have dropped is because there are simply that many more workers manning the wells, building the pipelines, and transporting oil products to and from refining and processing facilities.
From 2003 to 2014, 41% of fatalities in oil and gas production were caused by transportation accidents. These include crushing injuries caused by becoming trapped beneath or between heavy equipment or fires and explosions caused while transporting oil or natural gas products. In total, from 2003 to 2014, 1,331 oil and gas workers lost their lives to injuries suffered while on the job. Oil and gas workers and drivers involved in the transportation of oil via pipelines or roadways have a fatality rate of 4.1 per 100,000 workers.
Oil and gas workers can experience crushing injuries from heavy equipment or experience severe injuries in transportation accidents. They can lose their footing on slippery surfaces and suffer falls from height or on the same level while loading/unloading raw or refined oil products. Drivers and material handlers can suffer toxic exposure to oil or natural gas if it leaks during transport and they are not provided with the proper protective equipment or if vents and safety valves fail to operate as designed due to lack of maintenance or improper repairs. Drivers and others who come into contact with spilled oil can also suffer burns, respiratory injuries, or contact exposures when employers negligently ignore safety protocols established by the responsible regulatory agencies for the safe transport and handling of petrochemicals.
Brad Pistotnik Law represents oil and natural gas workers who suffer roughneck injuries in the oil and gas fields and oil and gas transportation accidents in Kansas City, Wichita, Great Bend, Hutchison, Gove County, Ellis County, Finney County, Ness County, in Oklahoma and all over Kansas and Oklahoma and elsewhere in Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois. Workers can pursue claims against employers or vendors whose negligent results in lost wages, medical expenses, the individual's ability to work, and overall impact to quality of life, Many times there are legitimate third party claims that arise because some other oil or gas subcontractor comes to the scene and causes an accident and they are not under the control of your employer. These types of third party cases are usually worth much more than workers compensation cases.
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